Saturday, December 19, 2009
Arthur "Big Boy" CRUDUP - Roebuck Man (London Session) 1970
Already 64 years old when he recorded this obscure and forgotten Blues album in early 1970, Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup had cruelly seen 3 of his compositions covered by Elvis Presley (most famously "That's All Right"), but because of strange royalty arrangements - never saw any cash for them. But like Curtis Jones, Otis Spann, Muddy Waters and so many other black blues artists of the time (who all complained of being 'done' by industry types), they moved to Britain and Europe where their music was being listened to and appreciated by ecstatic white musicians and mixed audiences hungry for the real deal.
Working a small UK tour at the time, which was financed by The National Blues Federation of the USA, Crudup stopped into a London studio to record this album. Produced by CHRIS TRIMMING and RON WATTS and engineered by MICK TAUBER, the whole LP was recorded in one day, 26 February 1970 and released in July 1970 on the Stereo LP United Artists UAS 29092 in the UK. Sporting a fetching laminate front sleeve, the album title came from a pub in Putney (featured behind him on the sleeve) where he received a none-to-enlightened reception and famously included an acidic reaction to it in its title track. The album also included ex members of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Manfred Mann and the newly formed McGuinness Flint - who were all big fans.
It's immediately obvious that the band complimented his voice and songs - most are combo numbers, but "Blind Man Sees" is just him and guitar ala John Lee Hooker. The harsh "Roebuck Man" opens with "If you should have to come to England, please don't go to the Roebuck man..." but things get more Chicken Shack with the stunning "Room And Board" - thrilling guitar work and the band digging it (lyrics above).
"Corrina Corrina" (not the famous Joe Turner track Corrine, Corrina) is just Crudup and John Lewis on Piano and is wonderful blues - simple and sweet. It then ups a notch when the band joins them on the Jerry Lee Lewis sounding "Boogie In The Morning" - with piano rolls and great sax work from Dave Gelly. If you heard it in a pub, your foot would be pounding the floorboards in glee. He tells "Katy Mae" he loves her in "What Are You Trying To Do?" and the band just chugs along behind him to such sweet effect until he shouts "Take it!" and they start into blues rocking. "Burying Ground" is a dark closer about death and women dressed in red...nice!
So there you have it - a great little album.
Arthur Crudup died in early 1974, aged 68. Music historians often say that he gave a lot to the Blues and an incalculable donation to world karma via Elvis Presley and his 1st US 7" single on Sun Records in 1955 - Crudup's own "That's All Right" - thereby starting a rock'n'roll journey that many of us are still on to this day. It's just such a damn shame that the music business didn't return him the compliment.
By Mark Barry.
Arthur "BIG BOY" CRUDUP- Guitar & Vocals
Hughie FLINT- Drums
Benny GALLAGHER- Guitar, Bass & Vocals
Dave GELLY- Tenor Sax
John LEWIS- Piano
Tom McGUINNESS- Guitar
01. I Don't Worry Crudup 3:21
02. Needle Time Crudup 3:28
03. Room and Board Crudup 3:15
04. Blind Man Sees Crudup 4:53
05. Long Curly Mane Crudup 3:56
06. Roebuck Man Crudup 5:02
07. Old and Grey Crudup 4:10
08. Before You Go Crudup 3:46
09. Korrina Korrina Crudup 3:37
10. Boogie in the Morning Crudup 2:34
11. Get You in My Arms Crudup 3:49
12. What Are You Trying to Do? Crudup 3:10
13. Burying Ground Crudup 3:32